tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN August 16, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
i'm brooke baldwin. the lead with jake tapper starts right now. thanks. it's almost as if the president is connecting the dots for robert mueller. "the lead" starts right now. the real reason was russia. president trump again admitting a move against the former cia director is directly tied to his disdain for the russia investigation. did he open another door for the special counsel? omarosa drops another tape. plus -- ♪ you make me feel >> a royal good bye to the queen of soul, aretha franklin, the voice a country needed and a voice none of us would forget. bobby ray will join us to share her memories. welcome to "the lead."
we begin with the politics lead and a stunning point blank admission from president trump about why he is considering revoking the clearances of nine other former and current obama and trump administration national security officials. in an impromptu interview with the wall street journal president trump tied his disdain to the russia investigation to removing security clearances. it is something that had to be done. i think they are not good people. of course, just yesterday white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders offered this excuse for revoking brennan's clearance. >> any benefits that senior officials might glean from consultations from mr. brennan are outweighed by the risks posed. the president has a constitutional responsibility to protect classified information and who has access to it and
that's what he is doing. >> so despite the best efforts of the white house staff to act as if this decision was about protecting classified information, president trump made it clear it was actually about punishing one of his fiercest critics. it is the latest example of president trump contradicting an explanation. he did this when his white house claimed that fbi director james comey had been fired because of his mishandling of the hillary clinton e-mail investigation. hours after that the president said this. >> i said to myself, i said this russia thing with trump and russia is a made up story. >> it's an awful lot of russia on the mind. jeff zeleny is at the white house. president trump refusing to answer questions about the revoking of clearances during the cabinet meeting. >> reporter: it was an hour long cabinet meeting. the president talking about a
variety of issues but not explaining or defending the actions yesterday. the white house insists he was not trying to settle political scores and did not explain the contradiction. >> is it appropriate for you to punish your critics? >> reporter: president trump biting his tongue today not answering questions. at a cabinet meeting. >> i won't say who -- >> reporter: the president not mentioning or explaining the decision to revoke brennan's security clearance. brennan, the intelligence chief under president obama is firing back. brennan writing mr. trump clearly has become more desperate to protect himself and those close to him which is why he made the decision to revoke my security clearance in an attempt to scare to silence
others. he added his claims of no collusion are in a word hogwash. he pointed to this -- >> i will tell you this, russia, if you are listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. >> reporter: that same day russia attempted to hack into hillary clinton's servicer according to documents in special counsel robert mueller's investigation. a day after sarah huckabee sanders announced the security clearance move. >> consultations are outweighed by the risks posed. >> reporter: she sat silent at the cabinet meeting neither her or any administration officials spoke about the decision. the president contradicted the claim that it was an effort to protect national security telling the wall street journal the russia investigation was on his mind. i call it the rigged witch hunt. it is a sham. i think it is something that had to be done.
his unprecedented move praised by some republicans while criticized by national security officials of both parties. >> i thought it was kind of a banana republic kind of thing. i don't like it. i think it is inappropriate. >> reporter: we are getting word from another former top commander, the commander who oversaw the raid, the bin laden raid. he is a friend of john brennan's. he said please revoke my security clearance, too. he said it would be an honor to be on the list with john bren n brennan. >> jeff zeleny at the white house, let's discuss this. let's talk about it. admiral mcraven, an american hero in charge of special ops during the bin laden aid. he says to president trump i would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance. you have embarrassed us through
the eyes of our children and humiliated us and divided us as a nation. that is a remarkable rebuke from admiral mcraven who has not weighed into politics much at all. >> he stayed out of politics in 2016. i tried to get in touch with bill mcraven. now it's striking, what he says in the open letter that he hoped that the president would rise to the occasion. i remember that was the case in december and january. he was not one who thought necessarily that trump would be a disaster. he was pleased by the appointment of mattis and others. i think he hoped the president would turn out better than he has. >> here we have president trump -- the administration comes up with an excuse. this is why brennan's security clearance was revoked. they couldn't point to secrets
he shared inappropriately. and then hours later president trump says he under mines the whole thing. i did it because of the russia investigation. >> because i think he wants people to know that is why he did it. there is no particular plan in any of these. does anyone believe that brennan would have lost if he was not talking junk on twitter about president trump? security clearance is a privilege and not a right. it can be taken away. you can make the argument that they should in some cases. this is an attack on the speech of people. >> i see a lot of people on social media, why does it matter to have a security clearance or not. it is for the benefit of the current administration as it is for the individual so -- for instance john brennan was in the cia for decades. if the director of the cia comes to him and says i need to use
your expertise he is allowed to have the conversation. that is the reason. >> there is vast institutional knowledge that the folks on the list have. it is something like 200 years just in terms of their service to the country and the knowledge they have. if something came up where they would want to bring in one of these people to look at some classified information and give his opinion, that is the purpose of these security clearances. it's not like john brennan every day is getting these briefings and reading classified information. none of these people really are. what is interesting, is this going to be a drip, drip, drip? there are six or seven other people on the list, people like sally yates and susan rice. i think it was clear that yesterday they really wanted to change the subject from omarosa and have other plans to revoke security clearances in a similar way. >> take a listen to senator john kennedy, republican of louisiana
talking about brennan. a lot of republicans support what the president did. >> he has been totally political. i think i called him a butt head and i meant it. i think he is giving the national intelligence community a bad name. i would like to know why when he and his agents picked up that the russians were trying to interfere in our elections he didn't do anything about it? i would be appalled if the -- >> so senator kennedy referring to john brennan as totally political, a butt head saying he would be appalled if the current cia director wanted to consult with him. >> right. i think the problem here is that these are people who have been generally respected across the aisle. i would say susan rice was a controversial person. i don't think james clapper or
john brennan is somebody who is seen as being overly political. as james clapper said in an interview last night with chris cuomo was that they feel a need to speak out for a reason, that there is something different happening. in the past they haven't spoken out because they actually feel that there is an attack on democracy. so that is why they are speaking out. i think that donald trump realizes that they are credible people. it's not just some left wing activists or people or the media who he has already attacked. i think these are people who are seen as trustworthy. maybe he thought this would silence brennan though it is not going to. >> brennan said there was collusion, just a question of whether or not it rises to the level of criminal conspiracy. >> i don't think it will quiet
them. it is right for them to say it won't and to encourage people that they should not react that way. i will say the casting of brennan and clapper is not a perfect rendition of the record because those are misled about spying on congress and the american people. so i do think that is something to keep in mind. this is not why the clearance was revoked and that is pretty clear. >> there is a way if someone is a security risk who has had a clearance there are ways to revoke it. the government has done it. they clearly didn't go through that process. there is no recommendation from the cia, from the fbi counter intelligence. he says by my constitutional authority i am doing this. i have this presidential authority to remove clearances. i think that is an interesting question for mueller. one of the interesting debates
going on is would he have to be removed by the deputy attorney general or can the president as president just reach in and say good bye? i think the precedent that the president is setting here is that he gets to fire mueller directly. >> i don't think that -- i didn't mean to imply -- >> neither of you meant to imply anything. >> the point is that they are respected. in the same way john mccain is a respected person. so you would expect people to behave respectful. >> somebody that people listen to. omarosa drops another secret recording. we'll dig in plus remembering queen of soul aretha franklin who brought down the house at the grammy's.
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aretha franklin born into poverty in the jim crow south in 1942 defied the odds to become a legendary voice of empowerment for those too often silenced. franklin provided the soul stirring music that helped carry martin luther king jr. and his family through the worst moments. >> i was a very young girl. >> reporter: today john lewis expressed his gratitude. >> we have lost one of the great spirits of our time. aretha franklin inspired all of us with her unbelievable capacity and ability to make us smile, to dance, to be happy. ♪ all i'm asking is for a little respect ♪ >> her demand for respect became
a rallying cry for women worldwide. the hit was perhaps fittingly an adaptation of a man's lyrics. franklin's revisions to otis reddings words now iconic. >> he didn't say that. i thought i should spell it out. >> franklin seemed fearless as she created unofficial anthemes f for all. her career-defining swagger inspired fans to find their own confidence. when america's first black president took an oath to helea the nation her voice provided the sound track. barack obama was the third president to request her presence at his inaugural. the reaction to her house
shaking national anthem at the 1992 democratic convention perhaps summed it up best. >> if that didn't make you patriotic nothing will. >> reporter: the queen of soul earned her crown by scoring 20 number one hits on the billboard r&b charts. if you call aretha franklin a diva, take note of her definition. >> my definition of a diva would be singers who give back to the community, who tithe to their churches, who are supportive in any way that they can be outside of theatrics. >> joining me now ten time grammy award winner bonnie rait. you had a special relationship with aretha franklin. >> it's a sad day for us. i'm just remembering with lots of friends on social media and on phone calls how many people
whose lives she touched. for me, i was 16 or so when i first heard her. those first two albums of hers "i never loved a man" and "lady soul" completely influenced my singing and my style as well as my feelings for what it was to be a young woman and to learn about men and heart ache and resilience and respect. she has been such a role model for me. when i finally got the chance to meet her years later i was like a little kid because it really was like being with royalty. she was a very dignified, reserved person. she had a playful side. for me to be able to sing with her for the special we did in 1993 was just the highlight among one of the memories that i will always take with me. she was an incredible inspiration. >> you told "rolling stone" i
never heard anyone like aretha franklin in my life. you can hear the redemption, pain, yearning and surrender all at the same time. that soulful voice and all that she conjured forth, that wasn't an act. that was her. >> absolutely. i think the authenticity and the raw passion of when you dig that deep whether in pain or yearning and love or in her case it was formed so much by her gospel roots. the fact that she was dipping into a well of spirit that was so holy and so powerful to bring the church into popular music like that as a young person in all my life every time she opens her mouth the realness and passion comes through. every emotion and unveiled. that has really informed so much of what i love about her and what i feel when i'm singing. >> this is going to be a very tough question. is there one specific song or
performance that you think about the most? i don't want to say favorite because there are too many to pick from, but one that you think about when you think about her. >> it is a tough one. it would be hard to turn down "respect". i would have to say "i never loved a man the way that i loved you" is the song that i go back to when i want to really get a deep dish of aretha. >> wonderful talking to you. sorry about your friend. >> thanks so much. we'll keep celebrating in her music. >> indeed. remembering music royalty, the queen of soul aretha franklin. ♪
president trump this time featuring laura trump, wife of eric trump, a conversation that happened after omarosa was fired from the white house, laura trump is on tape trying to bring her on board the campaign which would require she never criticize the president which she hinted she might do. >> you sound a little like -- clearly, if you come on board the campaign, like, we can't have -- we got to -- >> it's not clear whether it is in the same conversation or a different conversation but there is this tape of laura trump talking salary with omarosa for the campaign job. >> we are talking about like 15 k a month. $180,000. does that sound like a fair deal for you? >> let's talk about all of this.
$180,000 for a job that when you listen to the description doesn't sound like that much work. >> you can fly here, stay in new york, whatever it is. imagine if you are omarosa you are thinking really? $180,000 is her salary at the white house. if she has stuff in her back pocket as laura trump is hinting at and she hinted at in the "new york times" article she could make a lot of money. she can do a reality tv. i imagine she is thinking this is a low ball offer, $15,000 to keep me silent. she knows she can get much more on the open market. >> she should have consulted with you. i'm getting you as my agent. >> she is so offended that they would want to pay her hush money. it's like please, give me a break. she is completely untrust
worthy. omarosa is completely untrustworthy. she is running a circus and pulling the media into her circus that is no big surprise because the master ring leader of the circus is donald trump. there is no big surprise that this is coming from somebody that he hired. if i ever hired omarosa which would never happen and she had to leave i would try to find her a job. i would try to do something -- this is not -- >> $15,000 a month. >> there is nothing unusual about this. there is nothing unethical about it. it is just smart business. >> you are talking about omarosa acting offended. you know who is acting offended and i believe is very offended is laura trump. she released the statement responding and saying in part woman to woman, i shared a connection with omarosa as a friend and a campaign sister. and i am absolutely shocked and saddened by her betrayal and violation on a deeply personal level. i hope it is all worth it for
you, omarosa, because some things you just can't put a price on. >> he is not here to make friends. and look if you create an administration of reality show villains you will have an administration of reality show villains. she explained the role. i think the conversation is sort of so obvious. it's almost sort of like comical. everybody stay positive. of course. it's a little bit like wink, wink, nudge, nudge. i think they should be more practiced at this at the very least. >> bill, i want to ask you about this because this is the job laura trump is describing. i want to ask you how common this sounds to you. >> i really feel like your position would require you to be
able to be flexible in terms of where you are. sometimes, you know, come to new york for occasional meetings. i would love if you could occasionally go to these speaking engagements and sort of thing for us. >> $180,000 for that. that seems like a lot of money. >> that is money that people are contributing to the rnc. they are sending direct mail to people who are trump supporters and telling them you have to fight the democrats and send in your $25. people do go for that. >> do you think any of them would care? i think anything donald trump would do. >> you think somebody on the other side not just laura trump. there is a chair of the rnc. >> it does add up. >> half a million dollars over
three years. keith schiller, the former body guard security guy for donald trump is also being paid. >> i think you hear her talking about this. all of this will be public so this is all we can get away with paying you without looking really, really shady. if you are omarosa you probably know you can make much more. donald trump says this to omarosa at one point, he says to her that omarosa you made me a star. >> she was in the first season. she was in three all together. >> are you sure you didn't represent her. >> she is aware of her star power. i'm sure she is like you just came to the party. i think she meets eric trump in 2007 or something. omarosa has been in the trump
orbit since 2003 and very much responsible i think for trump's rise. >> she's not that relevant until she came into the white house. this is a person who is going around recording her friends, people that she says she supports. this is really awful behavior. and i think there is an invasion of privacy that is going on here and that we are kind of complicit in. >> because we are playing the tapes. >> a lot of them don't matter. the katrina pearson tape when jason miller -- in the end it is like did we learn anything? they were all speculating about something. we already heard about the tape long before she came along. >> katrina pearson saying in that tape that the president said it and is embarrassed. >> she is speculating. this is a call that anyone who has worked on a campaign has a million calls like this. >> if you want to negotiate on
omarosa let me play another sound byte for you. this is an interview done this week. this is omarosa doing an interview talking about her conversation with laura trump way back when. >> she was very cavalier about it. she is like maybe you could do some interviews or some speeches. you are very articulate. >> she used that word? >> she said you are articulate? >> i have known you for a while. did you find that offensive? >> most people wouldn't realize that is an insult to fr african-americans to call us articulate. >> she is the person who donald trump can point to and say i'm not a racist because i have been nice to omarosa. that was her role in the campaign. >> some people took the advice. >> now she is basically throwing shade on laura trump saying she
is making this sort of racially charged remark and making charges about donald trump. >> and passing herself as a civil rights hero who is so concerned about racism and all of these other things. it's absurd. >> everyone stick around. coming up next, the complaints kellyanne conway made about her marriage when trying to be an anonymous source close to their relationship talking to a washington post reporter. but now it's time to find my dream abode. -right away, i could tell his priorities were a little unorthodox. -keep going. stop. a little bit down. stop. back up again. is this adequate sunlight for a komodo dragon? -yeah. -sure, i want that discount on car insurance just for owning a home, but i'm not compromising. -you're taking a shower? -water pressure's crucial, scott! it's like they say -- location, location, koi pond. -they don't say that.
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prominent advisers as well as a look into the divisions that are causing such angst. counselor to the president kellyanne conway and her husband allowing a washington post reporter into their home. her husband noted conservative attorney standing his ground as to the importance of law and order and truth and decency. tom foreman takes a closer look. >> reporter: they have something of a short circuit, both are conservative but while she is the president's fiercest defender. >> there is no den she will not go into. >> reporter: he is a sharp trump critic. now the washington post scored a rare behind the scenes look at their split home life. >> he said she rolls her eyes at the tweets and her life would be easier if he wasn't criticizing her boss.
>> reporter: george conway routinely -- this week tweeting what if a ceo made false about himself, the company and results and publically attacked business partners, employees? when the president called john kasich unpopular conway posted a poll showing buckeyes think much less of trump. he troled the president over clashes with political foes and the press over his fallen allies and his lies. his wife told cnn's dana bash last spring. >> he writes things that are supportive and writes things about sports, too. >> reporter: to the "washington post" she said it is disrespectful, a violation of basic decency certainly if not marital vows. the post says she quickly tried to have her words attributed to a person familiar with their relationship. >> she tried to weasel her way out of it.
i just printed it. >> reporter: her husband introduced her to trump and now says he regrets it. he was once reportedly considered for an administration job and says he is glad it never happened. kellyanne suggests questions about her marriage are sexist. and george, he disagrees with his wife about the cause of any friction, too. the problem is with her boss, not me. that is what he has to say. to be fair, when i argue with my wife i don't say it isn't really me but someone familiar with the relationship. >> let's talk about this. your initial response? >> i feel uncomfortable with the whole thing. i couldn't get through the whole article and no offense to the writer. why they opened up their house to him is beyond me.
and before you -- i remember kellyanne conway being really upset with a certain reporter who asked about -- >> we shared some of it. >> asking about the tweets. here she is inviting a reporter and the world into her marriage. i found itticy. >> i found it surprising that they let him come in or that kellyanne did because george isn't really quoted in the piece particularly. it seems like this is a style reporter. he doesn't need anything from you ever again. he can burn you. why do it? >> i think it is an odd choice to do the profile unless you keep a smile on your face and talk about the way you lovingly deal with this divide. as somebody who has been in a relationship which is politically divided these things can be a model for how people can walk that line and have civil disagreements in a loving way and for the sake of their
children i hope that is what is happening most of the time. going off the record about your spouse is not the perfect example for them. >> i know your husband. i can't imagine you guys talking about way. as a source close to robert -- >> we actually talked about this saying could we survive this talking about each other this way and trying to do it in such a d a way. she can say i didn't say that. she said nobody knows who i am because of my husband. people know of my husband because of who i am. that is a nasty thing to say about someone who is not a nationally known person but is a well respected person. he is somebody who a lot of his tweets have not been just directed at donald trump. they have been directed to the
federalists society of which he is a member and have been critical. to do this i think is kind of astonishing. i also think it is interesting to watch her say this stuff off the record and be under the impression that she can put it back on the record which suggests that she does this and that reporters are letting her do this. >> i thought that it was -- this is my silly view of it. i thought it was charming that they disagreed about donald trump and yet thrived. she had strong feelings for him and he had strong feelings against it but their love and children are more important. >> that would have been a great story. >> that is what i think of them. this off the record thing is not great. >> george conway was proud of his wife's role in the trump campaign. this corresponds with other people told me is he really got upset with trump's behavior in office and the firing of comey.
he decided donald trump is not behaving as a president of the united states should behave. >> he is -- >> he was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. i believe he feels too many conservative lawyers in washington don't speak out. they have friends who are general counsel of one agency or another and they want to have good access. it is not selfish. they know people and they don't want to be at odds. he felt as a distinguished conservative lawyer someone should say this is not right with the way the president treats the justice department. governor andrew cuomo said something stunning yesterday that president trump took a whack at. let's go to the original sound from governor andrew cuomo of new york talking about the united states of america. >> we are not going to make
america great again. it was never that great. we have not reached greatness. we will reach greatness when every american is fully engaged. >> you worked for andrew cuomo years ago. it was never that great? that is kind of a surprising thing for a potential 2020 candidate to say. >> it is a terrible sound byte for sure when it is used against him. i think he went on to try to explain what he meant. i think that yes it is true that america has a lot of terrible things in our history. we were a country founded on slavery. we had segregation. we have repressed women and minorities and done a lot of things that are wrong. so have most countries.
does that make us not a great country? i think that is a hard argument for him to make at all, but a particularly hard argument to make as a politician. >> is this like when john kerry said i was against it before i was for it in the sense that this is one gaff but it could be used against him forever? >> you think so. he is the potential 2020 person. he doesn't usually make that list. he is no mario cuomo in terms of his ability to speak. he is kind of a wooden figure. i think he has some work to do in terms of his rhetoric. you can see him try to move to the left because of cynthia nixon who he is something like 30 points ahead of. he is getting at what you getting at, this whole idea of trump is sort of nostalgic about america's past and most women,
african-americans, gay people aren't nostalgic in that way. he is trying to critique that but he failed. >> you can make the argument that america is a flawed country and at times a deeply flawed country. so i think it will haunt him forever that he said this. i think it is a temptation of too many on the left and the resistance camp to speak in this way about the country and it will not serve them electorally. >> some dark money republican superpack should put up $10 million of ads with that clip and tell people to vote for cynthia nixon. >> to use that -- that might drive up turnout for him in manhattan. >> she was trying to pander.
she said something like andrew cuomo is trying to learn to talk progressive. >> is that what he was doing? he was trying to not get too caught up in saying the united states is too great because that is not what the democratic base thinks? >> i think that is what he is doing. i think certainly back when i knew him and i was working for him he was much more of a dlc type. i think there is something to that that maybe he doesn't quite know how to talk this language. >> don't call it mission accomplished just yet. proof that president trump's fight to defeat isis may be far from over. stay with us. we're drowning in information. where in all of this is the stuff that matters? the stakes are so high, your finances, your future.
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international lead, an accused al qaeda and isis member arrested in california after a four-year man hunt. authorities say omar amin moved to the united states as a refugee after he killed a police officer in iraq. he lied on his application to get approval. now the u.s. is preparing to extradite him to his home country to face trial. this comes as a report is out that isis has a strong and large following in syria and iraq despite losing so much ground. even though the president declared victory over isis that war appears far from over. >> reporter: coalition forces in a fire fight against isis positions near what is supposed to be one of their last hideouts
in syria. president trump always says his administration is winning against isis. >> we have made great strides against isis. >> reporter: but now revealed the terror group still commands up to 30,000 fighters in syria and iraq according to the latest u.s. military estimate. the assessment, even after isis has been pushed into small pockets of territory, it is still more capable than al qaeda and iraq at its peak in 2006-2007, a pentagon spokesman told cnn. and it is well positioned to rebuild and work on enabling its physical caliphate to reemerge. >> this report signifies that isis remains a threat. >> reporter: with isis's old power centers isis has turned to isolated attacks. but if the pentagon prediction of isis rebuilding is true,
trump may have to change this message. >> we are knocking the hell out of isis. we will be coming out of syria like very soon. let the other people take care of it now. >> reporter: one success the dismantlement of isis leader. >> down through a network where we have killed 60,000 to 70,000 of his followers, his army. >> reporter: but winning is something else. >> there is no question that the international coalition to defeat isis has been effective in terms of reducing their sizable foot print in iraq and syria. what this report tells us is that they are still a viable terrorist network. >> reporter: now syria may be the place to watch. isis has always seen it as a safe haven. >> thank you so much. you can follow me on facebook and twitter.
you can tweet the show. our coverage continues with jim acosta in for wolf in the situation room. thanks for watching. happening now, met his match. former apprentice star omarosa releases another secret recording and says she will do what is necessary to protect herself. a top retired military commander adds voice to protest over the move. something had to be done. the president makes it clear the real reason he acted against former cia chief john brennan was because of the russia probe. did he just give special counsel robert mueller one more thing to investigate. russian satellite releasing smaller satellites and raising